Interrogating power of words at Qfest 2021
Poets, playwrights, dramatists and other literary enthusiasts, at the recent Qfest 2021, interrogated the power of words, written and spoken, in creativity, civilisation, and especially, in the face of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
With Transcendence: Words Defying as theme, participants argued that words have power, insisting that their imperative cannot be over emphaised.
The award-winning playwright, theatre director Provost of the Redeemer’s University College of Postgraduate Studies, Prof. Ahmed Yerima, in his opening remarks, noted that words transport the content from historical to imagery and make-belief until the plurality of meanings to modern audience appears.
“Words touch the sensibility of the audience, and bring out reactions for or against a particular character or characters as a whole in the play,” Prof. Yerima said.
He said, “the transcendence of literature is the ability to use words to create situations in literary works, which go from normal to a spiritual level of perception while finding new meanings for a modern audience or reader. It is the ability to evoke and endow words with the power to travel from reality to an illusionary world while still making a lot of sense to the worlds and the characters, who inhabit the novel, poetry and drama.”
Similarly, CEO Quramo Publishing, Gbemi Shasore, observed, “the global experience is beyond normal. It is transcendent. It is business leisure land unusual. Only our power to connect with words will ensure that the global community, Africa especially, defies the ill effects of today’s times. Words are leading the way. We are happy to gather word stars or wordsmiths to think together, share new stories, trade experiences, display new creations, test ideas—new and old—to challenge obstacles in the way of progress, to disrupts negatives, to change some mindsets, to shake the cage and just enjoy one another’s company.”
The three-day event also featured workshops, masterclasses, panel discussions, film and documentary screenings, book readings, open mic and theatrical performances.
A final year medical student at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Akinimi Akintomiwa Oluwaseun emerged winner of the Quramo Prize for Writers. He got N1 million and also the opportunity to get his winning entry, titled, Looking Glass Bullet, published by Quramo Publishing.
Akinimi told The Guardian after he was declared winner, “I had much time on my hands during the lockdown. I was at home without nothing to do, so, I just picked up my phone and started typing until it became what has earned me a prize. There was a lot of hesitation on my part. But I have a friend that believed in me and pushed me to submit. We are both medical students and he didn’t have time to read it before I submitted it. He just kept encouraging me all through.
“I am doing well at the medical school but I have never really felt like I belonged there. I have always known words are what I would work with. I like writing music and fiction. I hope one day I could be a musician. I love words,’’ he revealed.
Jude Idada, who was the head judge of Quramo Writers’ Prize, said, “some of the issues explored by the entries received revolved around religion, cultural issues, the passage of love and hate, fantasy, migration and multi-cultural.”
” adding, “being presented these manuscripts was challenging. Everyone that submitted, whether on the longlist or shortlist is a winner for it takes perseverance and self-belief to be counted deserving. Keep writing, keep knocking on doors. Success comes in different forms.’’